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Ways you can help your children when you separate

Ways you can help your children

  • When you begin to accept the separation then your children will be able to do the same – it is important that you get on with your life and not dwell in the past or hang on to any anger or bitterness.
  • Ensure your children know you both still love them and that this will always be the case.
  • Don’t criticise the other parent in front of the children.
  • Be positive about the other parent when talking to your children.
  • Give your children the clear message that it is good for them to have an ongoing relationship with both of you.
  • Let your children know that even though separating is upsetting, you are handling it and expect things to improve.
  • Be aware that children often tell you what they think you want to hear and sometimes what they say should not be taken too literally. A young boy who says, when questioned about his time with his father: “I don’t like the food my daddy gives me to eat”, may just want to reassure his mother that he likes living with her.
  • Talk to the other parent about your children and their interests.
  • Talk to your children’s teachers.
  • Give your children the time to think about and express their own feelings about the other parent, even if those feelings are not the same as yours.
  • Avoid conflict in front of your children.
  • Keep your children out of your arguments. Avoid asking them to give messages to the other parent.
  • Turn to other adults for emotional support rather than your children.
  • Help your children to discuss their feelings about the separation.
  • Reassure children that they are not to blame – sometimes when parents are fighting some of the anger is directed toward the children who may then mistakenly believe that it was because they were bad or troublesome that led to their parent’s separation.

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